Living

Can you hear me now?!?

The heavy metal band Manowar became the Guinness World Records' "World's Loudest Band" when they hit 129.5 decibels in a live concert in 1994. And why isn't that cool? Because permanent hearing loss can happen from listening to 85 dBs for an extended period of time, and it takes only 15 minutes of 100 dBs for that kind of damage to be done. (A typical conversation is about 60 dBs.)

According to a new World Health Organization report, hearing loss is a life-changing health issue that threatens 1.1 BILLION teens and young adults around the world. And it's mostly caused by "unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events."

If young folks become partially or severely deaf, the report points out, they'll pay a big price in mental and physical health issues, not to mention lost employment opportunities and social difficulties. So listen up, Mom and Dad! Protect your kids' hearing by making them aware of the risks associated with earbuds (1 hour a day at a low volume is optimal); loud concerts (very uncool, but they should wear earplugs); and deafening sporting events (earplugs again). Convince them by downloading a decibel meter app to their smartphone: Have them measure the volume in their earbuds (keep it around 70) and at any venue, so decades from now they can hear the sounds of nature, their children's voices and the music they love.

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Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.

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